Plans

I was watching TV the other day and one of the characters got her dreams crushed. Her parents tried to make her feel better and she responded with “you said that if I did everything that I was supposed to do and played by the rules everything would work out. The world doesn’t work the way you said it does so what the hell am I supposed to do”. The first time I heard that line and watched the exchange I cried. Now I don’t cry often and most of the time when I feel like crying I don’t cry. But watching that made me cry because it was something that I had felt for so long but didn’t know how to voice it. So many small and big dreams or hopes or just things that I have wanted haven’t gone the way that I planned. I like to think that I am strong and unbreakable but I am not. When my heart gets broken and dreams I have don’t come true I feel broken and confused. It took me a long time and a lot of different losses for me to really understand what she said. I played by the rules and did everything that I was supposed to do. I played my part and tried to do everything perfectly and live up to the expectations that everyone else had for me. But when the time came for me to step up and take that next step that I was expected to take, my life fell apart. Things that I had taken as guarantees and things that I had earned not only because of who I am but what I had accomplished, they were snatched away from me in the blink of an eye. People say that when it rains it pours. Well let me tell you, they are 100% right. My plans change and shifted so fast that it made my head spin. I was left reeling and trying to pick up the pieces and make a new plan with the little pieces that I had left. I had decisions to make and things to do, but I didn’t know what to do because the plan that I had for myself and my future had fallen apart. Everything that I had counted on was taken from me and I was left standing and trying to figure out what was my next move. Of course, that was also the moment when people decided that I needed to make my own decisions and gave me advice that I either didn’t want to hear or gave me advice that was just not helpful, in my eyes. I tried so hard for so long to be perfect and act perfectly so that I would have a perfect life. I thought that if I did was I was supposed to do if I kept the peace if I was able to do what everyone was asking me then everything would be perfect. But that’s not how life works. We have ups and downs in our life to teach us and show us to cherish the different seasons in our lives even the hard seasons. There is a sweetness in the struggle but you have to be willing to find it and see it because it is so much easier to turn on everyone else and blame others instead of trying to find a solution. I played by the rules and did everything that was expected of me and still, my life fell apart. It took me a long time after getting my heart broken in ways that I couldn’t even imagine it getting broken for me to realize that God didn’t bring me as far as he has to leave me or forsake me Things might be hard right now for me to handle, but God will still make a way. When faced with a tough situation and a situation in which your plan did not have you prepared to go don’t chose a familiar misery over a foreign happiness. By that, I mean that it can be so easy to sit in the uncertainty and stay there over trying to go out on your own making those tough decisions. It’s something that I still struggle with, I will know the decision that I need to make and over think and over analyze it and almost talk myself out of it because it is something that takes me out of my comfort zone. Just because something is out of your comfort zone doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth pursuing. There is a verse that is said so many times it can often lose its meaning because it is said so often, “For, I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). This verse is said to comfort others as they are struggling to find their path and figure out the plan that is laid before them. This verse always gave me more anxiety than it did comfort because it made me antsy and want to know the plan and what I am walking into before I get there. I want to have a plan of attack ready so that when I am faced with a tough situation and I have a hard fight on my hands I know what to do and how to handle it. There is a verse that I like better and it makes more sense to me, “plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22). Now, this doesn’t mean go poll random people that you find on the street, this verse is saying to go to people you trust. Advisers aren’t random people but people that you trust, people who know you and your heart they are people who have your best interest at heart. These are the people to seek out and you can find them by looking towards God. These are the friends and people in your life who encourage you in your walk, comfort you with words of affirmation when feel broken, but most importantly they are the people who show you God in all that they do. When I was struggling and lost in my plan I didn’t seek out those people and I didn’t seek counsel because I was scared. I felt like I needed to have all the answers and have my plan figured out so that I could have the answer to any question that I got answered. Well, it took me a long time to figure out but I’m never going to have all the answers to the questions that I get asked. It doesn’t scare me as much as it used to, I still like to have the answers but I know now that I will have the answers when I need to have them. I only know part of the plan and that is okay because if I knew everything that was to come and that I was supposed to do, I probably wouldn’t do it the way I needed to because I would think I could do it better or that I know more. I would take short cuts to avoid heartbreak and get to the joys but we can’t fully enjoy the joys until we’ve survived the pains of life. Our plans never turn out the way we think or hope they will but God’s plan for us will turn out exactly how it is supposed to and that is the only answer I need.

XO

A Regular Girl

Instinct

Instinct is something that we are all born with and we all have. It’s that voice in the back of your head that says don’t touch the fire. Instincts aren’t always about saving ourselves from physical danger but knowing what to do in certain situations. Some of us have better instincts and listen to them. Others don’t and frequently ignore their instincts which can lead to many different kinds of pain. Every animal on this planet is born with their natural instinct. You can see it when they tense up after hearing a noise. They tense and wait, they watch and listen. They don’t jump into action unless they have to. We don’t always follow that same pattern. We can be stubborn and run head first into danger that could have been avoided if we had listened to our instincts stopped and waited. Our instincts protect they are natures way of keeping us safe and out of harm’s way. It is a defense mechanism that can keep you from running headlong into a situation that can get you hurt or killed. Instincts are why we are here and still surviving. But as I said earlier we often don’t listen to our instincts. We think that we know better and charge headlong into a situation that we should not be in. We kid ourselves and tell ourselves that we are ready and prepared for the fight ahead. Most times we aren’t ready for the fight that we are about to have. The fight that we are ready for is never the fight that we have. You can be as prepared as you want, know all the right things to do and say when you get into that situation. But at the end of the day, the only thing that you can rely on is your instinct. The feeling you get in your gut that says something is not right or that something is about to go wrong. The prickle on the back of your neck when you feel someone watching you and you know you need to move. The hesitation in a conversation or phone call that tells you something is happening and you are not being given all of the information that you need. You instincts are what keep you safe and keep you alive. People often say to trust your gut, I didn’t know what this meant for the longest time. I thought it meant to go with the first response that comes in your head, that’s not true. Sometimes your first thought is the rash part of you that wants to take action and right a wrong. Our instinct is not always what we want to do but 99% of the time it is right on the money. The more you ignore your instincts the farther you get from them and the harder it can be to figure them out what you should do versus what you want to do. The more you listen to your gut and trust your instinct the more clearly you will be able to tell what your gut is telling you and figure out what to do. Our instincts can be hard to listen to because often they tell us the right decision to make but it is not necessarily the easiest thing to do or what we want to do. These are times when it is easiest to ignore your instincts or pretend you don’t know what is happening but those are also the times that it is most important that you understand what is happening and listen to your gut and make the decision that you need to make. In Job 38:36-37 this very topic is discussed. The verse says “Who gives intuition to the heart and instinct to the mind? Who is wise enough to count all the clouds? Who can tilt the water jars of heaven.” Your instinct isn’t just a voice in the back of your head telling you what to do or what you should do. Your instinct is God helping to guide you. He has infinite wisdom and forever has our hearts in his hands. He knows what we need and what we want, often those things don’t align. God is responsible for our instinct. You might ask why, if God is responsible for our instinct, do bad things happen or why do we make decisions that are opposite of what our instinct says we should do? The answer to that is relatively simple, free will. God gave us this amazing gift that can sometimes be a double-edged sword. We can make our own decisions and those decisions can often be clouded by greed, pride, envy and many other things. The world would be a perfect place if we had all the answers and knew exactly what to do. But the world is not like that because we are people that have sinned and Adam and Eve went against their instincts when they took fruit from the tree that they were forbidden to eat from. Our instinct is God trying to help us stay on the path that he ahs for us, but we fall off that path too many times to count. Well at least I have, I have ignored my instincts before they told me to make decisions that scared me or left me with more questions than answers. I have been trying more and more to trust my instincts and while I don’t necessarily understand where my path is going and what the end results of these decisions will be, I do know that God has a plan for me and that my instincts have always been dead on. Listen to your heart and your gut, often times we second guess our instincts because we overthink and overanalyze the decision and then we lose track of what it is we should do. It is easy to get wrapped up in the decision-making process that we the decision that we know we need to make. If you got nothing else out of this know this, trust your gut and listen to what it tells you to do.

XO

A Regular Girl

Perception

I think that there are two types of people in the world. There are people who see the world as black and white and those who see the world in shades of gray. The people who see the world in black and white see clear distinctions between good and bad. There are no blurred lines, something is either right or it is wrong. Then there are the other people, the people who see the world in shades of gray. They don’t just see the world as all good or all bad. They see good in the and sometimes bad in the good. They no that no one is born good or born bad. There are things that happen to make someone act the way that they do. It is all the choices that you make every day that determines if you are good or bad. Even in that, I don’t believe that a person is ever just good or bad. I like to think that I am a good person, but I make mistakes. There is no part of me that is perfect or makes the right decisions all the time. There are times when I make poor choices and I make decisions to see just how far I can push the envelope and see how far I can go before I fall. In the same sense, I don’t think that someone who makes a bad decision is a bad person. I saw Beauty and the Beast this past weekend, let me tell you that was a good movie! But it got me thinking about the beast. When people first saw him, they saw the outside of him and judged him based on the limited interaction they had with him. SPOILERS ARE COMING AND IF YOU DON’T WANT TO READ THEM STOP READING. On the inside, he is soft and sweet but he has built up walls and layers to keep others out and by doing so other perceive him as being cold and unloving. But he’s not he protects Belle, he shows her the world, he lets her be her own person and grow and do what she needs to do. There is a time in the movie when Belle asks the staff why they stayed with the beast after the curse happened and why they still care about him. Mrs. Potts says that it is because they failed him after his mom dies the beasts father was cold and turned his son cold because of how he was treated. They stay with him because they feel guilty that they didn’t step in sooner and open his eyes and show him what it looks like to love someone and truly be loved back. That is what God is for us. He is our true love and he sees us when we are at a worst and don’t think that we deserve his love. He chases us and loves us even when we don’t return the love he gives us. God doesn’t just see us for the sins that we have committed or the mistakes that we have made. He sees us for who we truly are, he sees the good that is in everyone. There is no time where after picking us up again God says “this is the last time that I am going to put you back together”. We are so loved by the king of kings and the creator of the world! Like that blows my mind all the time. So no matter if you look at yourself and see the mistakes you have made and the imperfections you think are there, that is not what God sees. He sees himself in you. He sees the goodness that is in every person. No one is born evil and everyone has the potential to have a positive impact on the world and do good. When you look at the world no matter how you see it either in shades of gray or black and white don’t forget to look past what you see and look at the person who is in front of you. Take the time to get to know them and not just judge them based on your first impression of them. Get to know their heart because when you do it can be life-changing. No matter who you think you are or who you have to be because of where you just remember that it doesn’t define you. It doesn’t define what person who you are, the choices that you do define who you are. Try and see the world in different shades and look past what you think you see until you truly see the heart of the person in front of you.

XO

A Regular Girl

Hiding

There are things in life that we hide from, we run and I mean flat out sprint in the opposite direction from. There are moments when fight or flight kicks in and you just run in the opposite direction. But the thing about running is that no matter how fast you run, how far you get or how good you are at hiding whatever you are hiding from will always catch up to you. There are days when you think you can outrun what is chasing you, but no matter what happens there will always be a something in your path that causes you to stumble and that one stumble is enough to get caught. You can be cautious and careful, you can hide all traces that you were ever there but no one ever truly goes unnoticed and that is the trouble with hiding. You can be the best chameleon and blend in almost completely with everything going on around you, but it only takes one person in one moment to spot you and then you are faced with the same choice fight or flight? Do you fight what are you are hiding from or do you try and run? All it takes is one person who sees you for who you are and sees you where you are and it makes it nearly impossible for you to hide. I have gotten pretty good at hiding, I have it down to an art really. I can hide in a crowded room just as well as I can hide in a one-on-one conversation. The hiding that I am talking about is not going unnoticed when people look around a room but it is hiding the deepest parts of yourself from others. It is hiding who you are and becoming that person that you are expected to be. I have been to enough fancy, formal and stuffy events that I can blend in easily there and I have been to enough college parties that I can hide there too. I have been everywhere in between and I know what I am supposed to say and do. I can tell you exactly how every conversation is going to happen and exactly what is going to happen, heck I can even tell you when there will be polite laughter or a shocked gasp at a story. Like I said I have perfected the art of hiding in plain sight. Maybe it’s that I grew up in a big family and I could watch people and not always be the center of attention. Maybe it’s that for the most part I am rather unremarkable and have always been surrounded by remarkable people who shine in the spotlight. I like the shadows, I like to watch how people interact and watching has shown me exactly what I am supposed to do. I know when to put a polite laugh in a boring sentence and when to flip my hair when talking to a boy, I know all of this but there are so many people in my life who don’t realize that I am hiding. There are people in my life who saw me hiding and called bullshit on me. Those are the people who know the real me and have seen for me who I am and where I am. People and friends like that are few and far between, especially when you have been successfully hiding for nearly 20 years. I have about two decades worth of experience and believe me when I say if I don’t want you to find me you won’t. You will either never know me to begin with or I’ll give a piece of information I don’t care about but make you think that is precious and then I’ll leave before you realize how worthless that one piece truly is. It has happened a few times where someone has caught me and called me on the worthless piece I gave them and that is when I let them see me and not just the mask that I present to those around me. I let them see me for who I am. Some people have thought that they saw me for who I am, but when they tried to rip off my mask I simply twisted out of their grasp and ran for cover making sure that they would never see me. It has taken me a long time to figure out just how good I am at hiding and how good I am at keeping people at arm’s length. Hiding is something that I am proud of but also something I hate. I hate that when I first meet someone new my first instinct is to hide and only show them what I think they can handle. It is worse when I am hurting, if I am hurting then I will really make people think that they know me and they have access to my heart while I put up more defenses and protect myself more securely than ever before. If life is going well and I am happy I relax my defenses and I will let my mask slip. Jeremiah 23: 23-24 says “Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? Declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? Declares the Lord”. I wish that I could say that hiding hasn’t affected my relationship with God but it has. At first, I showed God my mask and did everything that I thought I was supposed to do. It took me a long time, and I’m still learning about it, to realize that God wants to see all of me. He doesn’t want the perfect me that I let others see, he wants me when I am hurting and broken. I don’t need to hide who I am from him because his love for me is unlike another love that I have ever or will ever experience. This is a love that is never ending and will capture me and never let me leave even when I try to run. No matter how many times I have tried to run from God and hide parts of myself from him, he always catches me and lets me know that he wants ALL of me. This is something that blows me away all the time because I am so imperfect and so flawed but no matter how broken I see myself, God sees me as his perfect and wonderful daughter. There is nothing I can do to deserve this love and there is nothing that I can do to lose this love. It is a love that has made me stop hiding. This love is so powerful and effects every part of my life. The love that God has for me is a love that has made me start to drop my mask and let more see who I really am and not who I want them to think I am. It is a love that has made me come out of hiding.

XO

A Regular Girl

Fear and Desire

What are you supposed to do when that one thing that scares you like no other and has the capability to destroy you is the thing you want most in the world? Well if you are me you are screwed. Sometimes the thing that makes us most scared is the thing that we desire most, which is crazy. Logically it makes sense to run from things that scare us and run to things that we want and are here to comfort us. However, if you are in the same lucky boat that I am in your mind plays some fun tricks on you. Instead of separating the two things they are joined together, they are so intertwined that there is no way to get one without the other. Every heard the expression “all’s fair in love and war”? I am beginning to think that they had it right. Is it possible that we can be so scared of something because we know that it has the potential to break us in ways that we don’t think we could survive? If you are like me that is 100% true! That one person who I try to keep out of my mind at all times is also that one person who I want to talk to at all times. They are the person who I want to call when I see something funny or I am having a bad day. At the same time, he scares me like no one else because I know that he has to potential to crush my heart like no one before him. He has the ability to take a sledgehammer to the walls that I have spent years carefully building to keep me from getting hurt and to keep others out. It scares me how much I have let him in without me knowing, but at the same time, I love how much I have let him in. I’m scared about how often I think about him and how I can’t seem to go a few minutes without seeing something, hearing something or smelling something that reminds me of him. But at the same time, it comforts me and let me know that even though he is far away he is still close to me. He does things that usually wouldn’t make me crazy or smile like an idiot, but when he does it I feel different. He has the ability to change my mood and how I look at something with a simple sentence, he can ground me and make me look at something in a way I never expected. This guy is in my heart and in my head and it is freaking me out! It is making me more scared than I have ever been. And trust me when I say that I have been in plenty of situations that would scare most people half to death, but those are stories for a later time. Why is it that I am so scared of his boy and the effect he has on me? Simple, it reminds me how fragile I am. I have spent a long time convincing myself that I am strong and that no one will see my heart for all that it is. My heart is something that very few people truly see and I protect it more than most and maybe even more than I should. But he managed to get into my heart undetected and even worse I welcomed him into my heart and it wasn’t until he firmly planted in there that I realized how much of my heart he truly has. Now, this isn’t only true about this guy, but this is a theme in my life. I would love nothing more than to have kids one day but honestly, I’m scared. I am so scared that I won’t be able to protect them or love them the way they need me to or that I will disappoint them. The fear I have about it is almost enough to scare me off of wanting to ever have kids. The biggest thing that I have learned about fear is that if you let it control and run your life then you will never do anything and achieve your dreams. If you let fear control your life then you will live an unremarkable life. You won’t get to feel the highs and lows that come with life. Yeah, it is scary to put yourself out there and lead with your heart because there is such a potential to get hurt. But sometimes you have to take a deep breathe push the fear aside and jump. Jump into the unknown and embrace the fear and know that it is just a natural part of life. Life is going to throw you for a loop and you can have your biggest dreams and desires come true. But at the same time, they can blow up in your face. If you never experience the pain of not getting what you want more than anything, than the highs of getting everything you ever dreamed possible is not nearly as sweet. Sometimes you have to jump with no abandon and not look for the safety net and trust that no matter what happens you will be able to dust yourself off and move on. The thing about fear and desire is that there is never just one fear or desire. We are faced with new ones every single day and they open our eyes to the world around us. If you let fear control your life then you will never see the beauty that there is in chasing what you want and not caring what happens. There is freedom in that which you can’t find in any other place. Fear has been engrained into our brains because it kept us safe, for example, why don’t you approach a wild bear and try to befriend it because your brain says RUN YOU IDIOT THIS BEAR CAN KILL YOU. The difference between this kind of fear and the fear that I am talking about is that my kind of fear is more about looking for a safety net and wanting to avoid heartbreak not trying to avoid being eaten by a wild bear. So if faced with a bear feel free to get away and don’t ignore your fear. However, if fear is stopping you from going after something that you really want then you should ignore your fear and go for it! Fear can keep you from getting to experience some of the sweetest things that life has to offer.

XO

A Regular Girl